7/6/2013 4:14 P.M. ET
Vizquel welcomed warmly in visit to Cleveland
By Mark Emery / MLB.com
CLEVELAND -- Though Omar Vizquel currently works as an infield instructor in the Angels' organization, the 11-time Gold Glove winner said Cleveland will always have a special place in his heart.
Vizquel, who spent 11 of his 24 Major League seasons with the Indians, spent a half-hour addressing the media before Saturday's home game against Detroit, which began shortly after he tossed out the ceremonial first pitch. Various art pieces by Vizquel will be displayed at Convivium 33 Gallery starting on Sunday, and on Monday the first 10,000 fans who show up for the series finale against the Tigers will receive bobbleheads depicting Vizquel's likeness.
"Bobbleheads are strange," Vizquel said. "This is my fifth bobblehead right now, and none of them look like me."
Vizquel touched on all kinds of topics during his news conference. He explained his method of fielding and how it came to be, reminisced about his time with the Tribe and acknowledged his aspirations to become a manager.
"To tell you the truth, I don't really miss playing much," he said. "I think playing at 45 was hard enough."
Vizquel hung up his spikes after the 2012 season, which he spent with Toronto. After breaking into the league in 1989, he also spent time with the Mariners, Giants, Rangers and White Sox.
In addition to his 11 Gold Gloves -- the last of which he won as a 39-year-old -- Vizquel participated in three All-Star Games. His lifetime batting average was .272, and he totaled 2,877 hits in his career.
"He was always in the middle of those rallies," Tribe manager Terry Francona said. "He could bunt, he could hit the ball through the hole, he could do anything. Surrounded by the rest of those hitters made him even better."
Indeed, Vizquel's role on the Indians teams of the 1990s was just as critical as those of Albert Belle, Carlos Baerga, Jim Thome, Kenny Lofton or Manny Ramirez. Vizquel cherished the years he spent as their teammates and still pays attention to how the current Tribe squad is performing.
And whenever Vizquel is in Cleveland, he always feels welcomed by the people of the city.
"I feel really strange, because I stopped playing in Cleveland in the year 2004," Vizquel said. "To this day, fans really treat me very, very special.
"I have a Twitter account on my phone, and most of the people that follow me are from Cleveland."
Mark Emery is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.